Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Family Practice and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

The Rourke Baby Record Infant/Child Maintenance Guide: do doctors use it, do they find it useful, and does using it improve their well-baby visit records?

Leslie Rourke1*, Marshall Godwin1, James Rourke1, Sarah Pearce2 and Joyce Bean3

Author Affiliations

1 Discipline of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL A1B 3V6, Canada

2 Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine Class of 2009, McMaster University, Hamilton ON, Canada

3 Family practice nurse, Goderich, ON, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-28

Published: 30 April 2009



The Rourke Baby Record (RBR) – webcite – is a freely available evidence-based structured form for child health surveillance from zero to five years. Family physicians/general practitioners (FP/GPs) doing office based well-baby care in three Ontario Canada cities (London, Ottawa, and Toronto) were randomly sampled to study the prevalence and utility of the RBR and documentation of well-baby visits.


Database with telephone confirmation was conducted to assess the prevalence of use of the RBR.

Study Part 1: Questionnaire mailed to a random sample of 100 RBR users. Outcome measures were utility of, helpfulness of, and suggestions for the RBR. Descriptive analysis was employed.

Study Part 2: Retrospective chart review of well-baby visits by 38 FP/GPs using student t-tests and factor analysis. Outcome measures were well-baby visit documentation of growth, nutrition, safety issues, developmental milestones, physical examination, and overall comprehensiveness.


The RBR was used by 78.5% (402/512) of successfully contacted FP/GPs who did well-baby care in these 3 cities.

Study Part 1: Questionnaire respondents (N = 41/100) used the RBR in several ways, and found it most helpful for assessing healthy child development, charting/recording the visits, managing time effectively, addressing parent concerns, identifying health problems, and identifying high risk situations. The RBR was seen to be least helpful as a tool for managing or for referring identified health problems.

Study Part 2: Charts from a total of 1,378 well-baby visits on 176 children were audited. Well-baby care provided by the 20 FP/GPs who used the RBR compared to that by the 18 non-users was statistically more likely to include documentation of type of feeding (p = 0.023), discussion of safety issues (p < 0.001), assessment of development (p = 0.001), and overall comprehensiveness (p < 0.001). Well-baby care provided by the RBR users compared to that by the non-users was not more likely to include documentation of measurement of growth (p = 0.097), or physical examination (p = 0.828).


The RBR was widely used by FP/GPs in these settings. RBR users found it helpful for many purposes, and had a consistently high rate of documentation of many aspects of well-baby care. The Rourke Baby Record has become a de facto gold standard clinical practice tool in knowledge translation for pediatric preventive medicine and health surveillance for primary care pediatric providers.